President Obama may have asked Congress to reduce the number of earmarks in its spending bills, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, isn’t cutting back on his pork.
The Senate’s most powerful Democrat secured 36 earmarks worth more than $89 million in the fiscal year 2010 Defense Appropriations bill, according to information provided by his office–a slight increase over the number of earmarks Mr. Reid secured in the fiscal year 2009 Defense Appropriations bill. That year, he secured 33 earmarks worth more than $83 million.
Despite pledges from Mr. Obama that his Congress would reduce the number of earmarks slipped into spending bills, Mr. Reid’s spokesman Jim Manley said in an email to the Washington Times the Majority Leader was “proud” of his earmarks.
“We’re proud of each and everyone because this money means jobs for a state that has suffered from this economy like no other,” Mr. Manley said.
After signing a massive omnibus spending bill last March that contained thousands of earmarks worth $7.7 billion Mr. Obama said he would pressure Congress to reduce earmarks. Last week, however, Congress sent the President another omnibus spending bill with more than 5,000 earmarks tucked in it, costing taxpayers $4.9 billion.
When asked about the earmarks in the latest omnibus bill in a press briefing Monday White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, “The number of earmarks is down. We’ve made progress on that.”
Regardless of the progress the White House sees being made on this front, there’s bipartisan agreement the rampant practice must be clamped down upon. Republican Sen. John McCain, Arizona, gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor last Saturday blasting the earmarks as an act of “generational theft” and Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, Indiana, is calling on Mr. Obama to veto that bill, saying in a statement “Congress must be restrained.”
Yet, the earmarking continues. The separate bill to fund defense operations contains $4.9 billion in earmarks, $89.2 million of which belong to Mr. Reid, takes up roughly 100 pages in the list of earmarks posted by the House Appropriations Committee, available HERE.
Below is a list of 32 earmarks listed by the House, although Mr. Reid’s office says tells the Washington Times he has secured 36.
1. $3.6 million for Scathe View Hyper-Spectral Imagery Upgrade for Nevada ANG
2. $4 million for Nevada National Guard Counter-Drug Program
3. $931,000 Mission Essential Airfield Operations Equipment
4. $2.4 million for USAF Engine Trailer Life Extension Program
5. $800,000 Nevada National Guard Joint Operations Center
6. $800,000 Naval Strike Air Warfare Center OEF/OIF Training (Terminal Attack Control)
7. $2.4 million Tactical-Crew Served Weapon Illumination Systems*
8. $916,000 Mission Essential Airfield Operations Equipment
9. $1.139 million Mission Essential Airfield Operations Equipment
10. $2.4 million Unmanned Threat Emitters (UMTE) Modernization
11. $1.6 million Advanced Environmental Control Systems
12. $2.16 million Advanced Suspension System for Heavy Vehicles
13. $3.5 million Biosensor, Communicator and Controller System
14. $1.6 million Bio-Surveillance in a Highly Mobile Population
15. $800,000 Cluster Bomb Unit and Combined Effects Munitions Demilitarization
16. $1.36 million for Continuous Threat Alert Sensing System (CTASS)
17. $2 million Enhanced Wound Healing, Tissue Regeneration, and Biomarker Discovery*
18. $2.4 million Gas Engine Driven Air Conditioning
19. $2.4 million In-Field Body Temperature Conditioner
20. $2.5 million MLRS Disposal System*
21. $1.2 million Mobile Aerosol Monitoring System for the Department of Defense
22. $1.6 million Navy Gun Ammunition Demilitarization and Recycling
23. $2.5 million Novel Endothermic Armor Material for Insensitive Munitions Protection of Tactical Missions and Tubes*
24. $800,000 Rocket Motor Contained System
25. $5 million Biometric Signature and Passive Physiological Monitoring
26. $1.6 million Development of Deployable Biosensors
27. $2.9 million MPOI for Battlespace Information Exchange
28. $3.2 million for Multi Sensor Detect, Sense and Avoid (MSDSA)
29. $4 million Next Generation Casting Initiative **
30. $3.6 million Shipping Contained Security System Field Evaluation
31. $3.76 million M230 30mm Chain Gun Automatic Cannon
32. $4 million Single Generator Operations Lithium Battery ***
*Cosponsored with Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign
** Co-sponsored with Michigan Democratic Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow
*** Co-sponsored with Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar